Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Now Available For Your Viewing Pleasure: Gossip Girl Season 1

So you enjoy watching twenty-somethings play rich spoiled teenagers? Well Gossip Girl is for you. This show is one of those addiction series that you don't really tell others you watch, but secretly enjoy. Well I am letting the cat out of the bag. This is one of my secret addictions. It is one of the best teen dramas to come out in the last twenty years and it definitely helped that it was created by Josh Schwartz who created a wrote for The OC (oh and Chuck).

The show is based on the New York Times bestselling novels of the same name about a group of teenagers living in New York City which I will also admit I read as a youngin, which I might have continued to read as the came out with I was a bit over the young adult age limit. The series doesn't really line up with the novels, but still has the rich spoiled lives of teenagers aroma that made the novels so popular. Think The OC only set in Upper Eastside New York City. Anyways, the first season wasn't able to pull in the number of viewers that it wanted, but after some risque sexually charged promos after the writers strike, the viewership increased. The second season starts next month and I am pretty pumped to see what's in store.

Available today anywhere you want, except maybe grocery stores and Victoria's Secret (but you never know).

Also available:
For the medically egotisctical- House Season 4
For the serial killing addicted- Dexter Season 2
For Scary Snick TV obsessed- Are you Afraid of the Dark Season 7

Would you rather watch TV with Barak or John?

Apparently the War in Iraq and the Economy are not the only important issues to discuss if you are running for the highest office in the nation. The country needs to know what music is on your ipod (because apparently all presidents and president wannabes have ipods; remember the GWB ipod playlist release last year), what was the last film you saw, and post importantly, what tv shows you watch. In the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, EW put the prez wannabes to the test to see you has the better pop culture rep. In the end, I have to give it to John McCain because he kicked Obama's ass in this EW pop culture debate. He only had one slip up and that was saying he liked Usher, but we all go through that phase (mine was just when I was 10).

In an analysis of McCain and Obama's fav tv shows, I have to give this to McCain. Surprisingly he has great taste in television, unlike his counterpart Obama. Obama said his favorite TV show is M*A*S*H which is great in all if you died in the 1970s. M*A*S*H reruns are fun to watch on a Sunday afternoon, but Barak, there is other great television out there right now. Then he said he his other favorite show is the Dick Van Dyke show. Seriously Barak, seriously? A show about a homogeneous WASPy stereotypical 1950s man-of-the-house white family? I would rather watch Dick Van Dyke as a doctor who solves murders.

Then there is John McCain, who has watched television in the last 30 years. His favorite television show is Seinfeld, which really you can't complain about. He also said he likes Curb Your Enthusiasm, which gave him television street cred. Dexter is also one of his favorites which surprised me. Finally he said that The Wire is a great show. As much as I don't like his policies, I could totally hang out with this dude. We could sit around and watch The Wire together and have a grand ole time. ...Larry David, yea I know. It's scary.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Own Worst Enemy

We have all seen the promo for this new series on NBC repeatedly while watching Bob Costos constantly boast about Michael Phelps and young girls bounce around on mats and beams, but the promo didn't really give me a good understanding of the show. To be honest, it doesn't look that good, but seeing the commercials for it repeatedly had me confused about the plot of the series. The promos at times are so vague that I didn't know if Christian Slater's character pretended to be two guys or he had multiple personalities. Now after watching this clip, I feel stupid that I didn't understand it. I think I have it figured out now. Zach Levi is so helpful.

For anyone else who has been in the same boat as me, now don't you also feel stupid. Others, stop laughing at my apparent naivety.

"I just don't respond to the title 'Doc.' "

"A dock is a platform for loading and unloading material. My title is "Doctor" or "Mr. Vice President," if you don't mind."

Lessons from Sheldon about Teleportation

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"How's it sit? Pretty cunning, don't you think?"

Now Available For Your Viewing Pleasure: The Wire Season 5

The Wire has been that under the radar show since its premiere on HBO 5 years ago. What makes The Wire unique from other shows is that each season the series focused on a different facet of the city of Baltimore. Throughout its 5 season run, the series focused on the Drug Trade, issues with the Baltimore Port, the city bureaucracy, the school system, and finally dealing with the print news media. The Wire's portrayal of crime drama is one of the best portrayal to have ever been show on television.

The fifth season focused on the effects of media and the public consumption of media, specifically the activities of The Baltimore Sun, which acts as the main newspaper on the series. Most of the episodes throughout the season are based on actual events in the history of the news media in Baltimore. Throughout the season issues that were dealt with were the activities of the news media, why certain stories are priority, why other stories are not told, the quest for profit and fame, and the decrease in the quality of the media. The new theme reverts back to the old themes of the series and each of the characters' lives are again intertwined in the world of The Wire. The Final season is amazing, even if the Emmy's pretty much ignored it.

Available today everywhere good television is available

Also available:
For the perpetually imprisoned- Prison Break Season 3
For the perpetually annoying- Tru Calling The Complete Series
For the perpetually stuck at sea- The Love Boat Season 1

Monday, August 11, 2008

Crappy ways to die

Dead Like Me style

Spontaneous Human Combustion...?:
Wouldn't it be crappy if you were just trying to win an arm wrestle match (fight, interlude, whatever it is called) and you fought the other person so hard that your hand caught fire? I don't really know how possible this actually is, but it seems like it would be really crappy. Especially after Daisy just whispered something naughty in your ear. Oh dear.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New Fall Show: Fringe

Why must we steal television shows from the UK?

All over the world television stations broadcast American television. From TV shows like Grey's Anatomy to Lost, international broadcast stations pick them up to show to their public. Why, then must the United States steal perfectly good television shows and "Americanize" them? Constantly American broadcast stations from ABC to HBO are buying the rights to every popular television series that has made it in other countries. This obsession with buying the rights to series would make sense if most of the shows that were being bought were non-English speaking broadcasts, but no. The majority of television shows whose rights were bought by American broadcast stations are British.

Why do American broadcast stations buy British television shows? Most of the time many TV execs believe it is because Americans wouldn't be able to relate to the life of a Brit. This concept is absurd. Yes, my life isn't exactly like someone living in Manchester or London, but my life isn't exactly like someone living in Milwaukee or Baton Rouge. If I can't relate to someone who lives a different life than me, then every show that takes place in another city should be changed to fit the lifestyle of someone living in Detroit or Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti, or whatever. American shows aren't "translated" for British audiences, so why do we think that "Americanizing" television is necessary?

Over the years many British television shows have been made into American shows. Some have turned into successful series, like The Office, and others have barely made it past the pilot, such as Coupling. Both of these shows were successful television series in Britain, but American television execs felt it was necessary to steal the premise of the show but put it in an American city with people that don't speak in such confusing accents. Either television execs actually believe that Americans are utterly stupid, or Americans are really utterly stupid. If this was the case, then why has BBC America become so popular over the years. This is why I have come to the conclusion that the reason why American television executives buy the rights to series is because they want to make the series their own, well after the steal the entire premise and first season of the series.

This fall is a prime example of American television stealing British shows. ABC has been promoting their new TV series Life on Mars, little does most of the American audience that has watched the incessant commercials for the new series know that Life on Mars was first a successful British show with the same exact premise. Watching the trailer for the ABC series, the show looks pretty much the same except the show no longer takes place in Manchester, but in New York City (because there aren't enough cop shows set in that city) and the characters are American (well act American, or whatever that means). The main character's name is still Sam Tyler and he still gets hit by a car sending him back to 1973. Right now the television series just finished going through a complete overhaul including a setting change and major cast changes. ABC should have just picked up the British series considering all the problems they are having. I for see this going the way of Coupling after that disastrous remake.

(This is before the overhaul)

Life on Mars is not the only British TV series being remade for American audiences. The Eleventh Hour is also being remade. Starring Patrick Stewart, or as I like to call him, Captain Bicard, The Eleventh Hour is about Professor Ian Hood who helps the government figure out weird science stuff. Well apparently Patrick Stewart isn't good enough for American television anymore, which is why The Eleventh Hour is being remade for American television. It will now star Rufus Sewell (who, I would like to point out, is British) as Dr. Jacob Hood who helps the government figure out weird science stuff (Jacob is a good American name. Ian is just too British). This one actually looks interesting, but the original was so good.

Stealing from British television has occurred for decades. Many of the most popular shows on television had their origin in Britain. To name a few: The Office, Coupling, Queer as Folk, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Blind Date, Three's Company, and its spin-off Three's a Crowd, Sanford and Sons, All in the Family, and numerous reality shows as of recently. There has even been talk of remaking Spaced for American television directed by McG (shoot me now) which is blasphemous in itself. Well it ever end? I am going to say no.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"and I'm just a TV show host made up of cigarettes and alcohol"

Why are screenwrters so obsessed with Godot?

Ever since the creation of being funny on television or referencing obscure stuff to make either viewers seem smarter or more stupid than their friends, screenwriters for some reason believe that references to Samuel Beckett's absurdest play Waiting for Godot are necessary to make fun of why someone is late or missing. Everything from Dawson's Creek, to House, to Buffy the Vampire Slayer have made references to the play. It seems as if any time a TV show wants to remark on why a character is remotely late, Beckett's fateful play is used to make fun of the situation.

Waiting for Godot is regarded as one of the best plays of the mid 20th Century regarding people's obsessions with existential, Jungian/ Freudian, other philosophical and political thoughts of the time, and blah blah effing blah. Main point is, the play is about two guys who sit around waiting for this other guy Godot, who inevitably, never arrives. There have been many interpretations on who Godot represents, and who Vladamir and Estragon (the guys sitting around) are supposed to represent. They have ranged from Godot representing a divine power who never comes to rescue Vlad and his bud, to waiting for things we can never have, to mindless waiting for anything. The main point is, the television seems to ignore the entire interpretation of the play and have reduced it to waiting for a friend, husband, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc, who all incidentally eventually show up, unlike Godot.

To breakdown the misuse and obsession with referencing Godot, here are some examples:

Dawson's Creek:
In the season premiere of the sixth season, Joey, Pacey, Jen, Jack, and Audrey are sitting around a bar hanging out when Joey asks where Dawson is. Audrey then responds:
"You mean "Godot" Leary?"

No Audrey, we do not mean Dawson 'Godot" Leary, because Dawson shows up at the end of the show. He actually shows up well before the end of the show, which is something Godot never does. Dawson shows up after Joey, who I guess in this situation is the Vladamir, or maybe Estragon, waits around in the bar for him. He shows up, they go back to her dorm room, and history of the Joey/ Dawson relationship continues. I guess it wouldn't Dawson's Creek without obscure literature references. Some even claim that Waiting for Godot was the inspiration for the entire series of Dawson's Creek. God help us.

House has made several references Waiting for Godot during its four seasons. The first references was the typical. Wilson comments on the delayed reaction by the CDC by remarking that "Godot would be faster", which really he wouldn't because again he never shows up during the first season in "Poison". The CDC does show up. They always show up. Haven't you seen Outbreak?
Waiting for Godot
is referenced two seasons later during season 3 in Finding Judas, when Chase is frustrated because House wouldn't listen to him, which causes Wilson (what is with Wilson and Samuel Beckett) to reference Godot once again: "Beckett would have called his play 'Waiting for House's approval', but thought it would be too grim"

Gilmore Girls:
Keeping it in the WB family, Gilmore Girls followed in Dawson's footsteps and their incessant references with their own Godot blurb. While sitting around at Richard and Emily's dinning room table during Friday night dinner, Lorelai, in her constant need to say things that no one else understands, remarks on how they have been waiting forever for Richard to come to the dinner table. Emily in her usual manner responds that it has not been forever. When Lorelia responds: "Forever. Godot was just here. He said 'I ain't waiting for Richard,' grabbed a roll and left. It's been forever!"

This one is actually amusing. Godot is not Richard, which makes this reference funny because they have been sitting at the dinner table so long that Godot actually showed up, but Richard still hasn't.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Joss Whedon is known for his obscure references and witty humor. This is no different in carrying on the television legacy of referencing Godot. During season 3, we are introduced to a new slayer, Faith. She is known for being a bad ass and not for her punctuality. In one particular scene, the scooby gang: Buffy, Willow, Xander, Cordelia, Oz, Giles, and even Wesley are sitting around the library, figuring out how to save the world. Wesley tells Buffy she wait for Faith to go hunt down the demon. Buffy responds with: "That could be hours. The girl makes Godot look punctual. I'll just go myself. "
Yes, Faith shows up eventually and actually turns out to be evil, which is a weirder take on the play. But again, Joss uses Waiting for Godot to poke fun at a characters punctuality.

Joss makes another Waiting for Godot reference earlier in the series during season 1. This time it is a quote from the play and not just making fun of the fact that some is late. On the blackboard in the back of a classroom it says:
"To every man his little cross. 'Til he dies. And is forgotten." This is both in reference to the play, but also the storyline which is about a girl who becomes invisible because nobody noticed her.

There have been numerous other references from names of episodes, like Home Improvement's "Go, Go, Godot" to plays on the name of the play like Red Dwarf's "Waiting for God" and the Riches' "Waiting for Dogot". Even television shows are analyzed as philosophical interpretations of the play, like South Park, yes I said South Park. They all might be a stretch, but the references and interpretations of Waiting for Godot will be forever infused into our society and the television we watch. Whether our society understands the references or not, that is something that will just need to wait for another day. My guess is no, but really who's to say. All we can do is wait until another television show decides to reference Godot because one of their characters lacks punctuality. Until then, I think I might just go hang out with Pozzo.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Now Available for Your Viewing Pleasure: Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Collection 3

I love this show because it makes traveling anywhere look like a fun place to party. The travel channel can be so mundane at times, but Anthony Bourdain makes sure his television show is never mundane. Whether it is trekking through Tibet to find Shangrala, hanging out in Tijuana, or wandering ruins in Turkey, Anthony knows how to have fun anywhere. Collection 3 takes you on more journeys of Anthonys as he wanders the world smoking cigarettes and drinking whenever possible. He goes to more exciting places from Moscow, to French Polynesia, to even Los Angeles. Anthony Bourdain makes Samantha Brown look like the Mister Rogers of traveling. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Collection 3 should be added to any Travel Channel addicts dvd collection.

Available today at dvd selling stores everywhere.

Also available:
For the whovian: Doctor Who Five Doctors 25th Anniversary Collection
For the aspiring Conservative teenager: Family Ties The Complete Fourth Season
For the Trekkie: Star Trek The Second Season REMASTERED...yea, I know you're excited

"You like music and probably regularly masturbate over pictures of Gillian Anderson."

Monday, August 4, 2008

Law and Order: London?

For the past 18 years, ever since 1990, the Law and Order universe has pretty much had a monopoly over American law drama. It is played at least 5 times a day on cable and has three currently running series on NBC. Now Dick Wolf in his effort to pretty much take over the western world has decided to create a Law and Order: London. The premise of Law and Order: London will be the same as the original, except they are going to rework scripts to make them relevant to British Law. So pretty much, Dick Wolf wants to take his claim on British television along with his dominance of American television. Right now the series will air on ITV in Britain, but will most likely air on American television on Bravo or USA.

The series will be headed by Chris Chibnall, lead writer and co-producer of Torchwood. Fellow Torchwood producer, Richard Stokes will produce the series. Keeping it in the Doctor Who family, Freema Agyeman is casted to play the main prosecutor (or barrister, or whatever they call them over there), with Jamie Bamber from Battlestar Galactica as a police officer.

Not quite sure what to think of this yet, but I have watched every other series that has come out of the Law and Order universe, so this probably won't be that different. I really want to see how the writing is going to be with Chibnall as the lead writer because Law and Order and Torchwood don't really have similar writing styles. Maybe this will be an improvement for the franchise, or maybe it will just continue the creation of more mundane shows spewing from Wolf Films. I still like SVU you though, everything else just seems like the same mediocre thing.

The series is slated to premiere in Britain in 2009.

"It's going to be legendary!"

"Don't say that! You're too liberal with the word "legendary". "

..."We're building an igloo in Central Park!
It's going to be legendary!
Snow-suit up! "

Hitler is a Torchwood fan

After watching a bunch of Comic Con clips, I found another Downfall edited video, but this time it is Hitler discussing his obsession and disappointment with the Torchwood season finale. If you are pretty well versed in the Doctor Who universe this will be hilarious, otherwise if you are a typical American who doesn't watch British science fiction television, it won't really make any sense. It is still hilarious though and should still be watched.

The best part is the Whedon slight in the middle. Seriously though, who does Russell T. Davies think he is?

Buffy: The Animated Series

Courtesy of some unknown source and a bunch of Buffy nerds, a 4 minute promo of Buffy: The Animated series was leaked on youtube on Friday. Buffy: The Animated Series was supposed to be a kids television program based on the original television series. Joss Whedon had begun to work on the show to air on Fox Kids around 2001, but the show eventually fell apart. There was even an attempt to relaunch the series after the original Buffy ended in 2004, but again no greenlight. Now after the leaked promo, there has been a push for the animated series to have another try at getting the greenlight. Who knows, but apparently there is a large support group behind it, including a facebook group dedicated to convincing Joss to put his support behind this show.

Pretty much looks like the original series, well besides the fact that the main characters are cartoons and Buffy's voice is obviously not Sarah Michelle Gellar's. Who knows what will happen with this.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"I'm gonna make you a mix tape. You like Phil Collins?"

"I've got two ears and a heart, don't I?"

Crappy Ways to Die

Dead Like Me style

Impalement by a plastic swordfish:
Wouldn't it be crappy if you were drunkingly dancing a top the bar, already a couple in the bag, when a plastic swordfish (like one of those ones people put up on their walls to look cool when their friends come over) comes flying off the wall and impales you Vlad style right there on the bar during your Riverdance routine? Ouch. Now imagine that happening in the middle of your 80th birthday party in front of all your friends and family. Now that would be crappy.

"Maybe if you don't drink, you will be cool"

SNL Digital Short

It's Sunday so we are going to take it back two years to this classic that still amuses me.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Reality Show Host Wreck

Some people would call it creative, but I call it "we didn't want to try to get a good host, so now we are stuck with you shitty hosts". Ever since it was announced that the Emmy's would be hosted by the 5 Reality Show hosts that were nominated for the new category of Best Reality Show host, I have slowly been cringing the thought of watching that train wreck in September. The worst part about the new category of Best Reality Show host is that most of those reality shows are only popular, not because of the host, but because of the content of the show. Now, add in a mindless host, and then you can have a show. To really understand the cringe factor of this idea, one must examine each of the 5 hosts to fully understand the unnecessary of the situation.

First we have Ryan Seacrest. Ryan came into our radar as one of the (yea remember two) co-hosts of American Idol during its inaugural season. They were the fillers when Simon would make some unsuspecting, but totally deserving young aspiring musician cry. I vaguely remembered either of their names that first season and never thought of them as two separate entities. Now Ryan Seacrest has taken over the world and someone must have told him that he is funny, because now he thinks he is a comedian. I would have thought the ATAS would avoid the trainwreck that was last year's Emmy's, but as I said, Ryan Seacrest is taking over the world and our consciousness.
Next we have Heidi Klum. The only reason Heidi hosts Project Runway is because she created it and pretty much controls everything. No one watches the show to see what witty things Heidi is going to say about Christian's clothing or what humorous joke she is going to tell while in judging. People watch the show because America is addicted to watching people make things that resemble clothing, and because Bravo does those damn marathons in the middle of the day.

Then there is Jeff Probst, you know, the guy who narrates stuff on that show where the people get stuck on an island for a long period of time. I ever know a point that I watched the show for Jeff Probst. I don't think I even learned what his name was until the third season because people really don't care what he does on that show. Screech could host that show and it would still be the same show (I would probably watch that though). The point is, what does Jeff bring to Survivor that any other K List star couldn't?

Unfortunately next we have Tom Bergeron, the host of America's Stupidest, I mean, Funniest Home Videos. The show were parents send in videos of their children that could slightly be construed as child abuse and dogs stiff people's butts. That show has been the same since Danny Tanner hosted it, but apparently Tom Bergeron should be allowed to keep me entertained for 3 hours while a bunch of predictable shows win awards. He can barely keep me entertained for an hour of family video footage.

Finally we have the worst of the five, Howie Mandel, the host of the suitcase game show. I never understood the Deal or No Deal phenomenon. I have come to the conclusion that the only reason it is popular is because of the scantily clad dressed women holding boxes. I definitely do not watch that show because of Howie Mandel, but apparently people do. Remember back about 10 years ago when Howie was the host of his own talk show. I unfortunately used to watch it. I even saw a young Britney tell me to hit her one more time. Anyways, Bobby's World is going to think that his career as a below mediocre comedian means that his right to host the Emmys means he can make stupid jokes and blind me with his bald head.

Ever since Reality Shows began to take over the world, now their hosts have begun taking over our world also. So in September, don't be scared when Howie makes inappropriately crud comments, Tom pretends that what he says amuses people, Jeff continues to dress like a lost member of the cast of Zulu, Ryan jokes about his metrosexuality, and Heidi stands around and looks pretty.